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Bengaluru buses to be more safe for women

Bengaluru buses to be more safe for women

Snapshot: BMTC, making the use of Rs. 56.50 Crores under Centre's Nirbhaya fund, would upgrade its mobile app with panic button (SOS alerts) and a passenger tracking system.

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The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), in what seems to be a stellar effort for women safety in its buses, has chalked out an eight-point action plan. The Karnataka state would use the Centre's Rs. 56.50 Crore, which are granted under the Nirbhaya Fund, to upgrade its mobile application with two prominent features in form of a panic button (SOS alerts) and a passenger tracking system. BMTC managing director V Ponnuraj said the Nirbhaya grant would also be used to install CCTV cameras on 1,000 buses.

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“The emergency button will send alert messages to three people (police, BMTC's control room and the family),“ a BMTC official said. “The other feature is a Bluetooth-based passenger tracking system. It will keep the family in the know of the passenger's travel details such as where heshe has boarded and deboarded the bus,“ the official added. The BMTC mobile app, which is available on Google Play Store and showcases real-time information on the arrival of buses and nearest bus stands, has over one lakh downloads.  “We got `56.5 crore under the Nirbhaya Fund. The money will be spent on eight components, all of which are in the interest of women passengers,“ added Mr. Ponnuraj.

Currently, the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation has a total of 6400 buses, out of which only 800 buses are under CCTV surveillance. The BMTC spent around Rs. 68,000 per bus to get it fully equipped with CCTV cameras. All these buses are GPSenabled as well and are tracked by the control room in Shantinagar. Vinay Sreenivasa, convener, Bengaluru Bus Commuters Forum, said the corporation should run more services to decongest buses and improve lighting in bus stands. Tara Krishnaswamy, member of Citizens for Bengaluru, suggested that the corporation sensitise its staff to handle complaints of harassment without shaming the victims. All we can say is that it is indeed a commendable initiative by the Karnataka government and hope more states follow the suit soon.

Source: ET Auto

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